The critics seem to have it out for Justin Timberlake, no matter how hard he tries. It’s safe to say that whether deserved or not, the rollout for his album Man of the Woods has been somewhat of a disaster. First, there is the album itself, which has earned, for the most part, poor reviews. Pitchfork was the harshest.
“Justin Timberlake’s fifth album is a huge misstep for the pop star. It is warm, indulgent, inert, and vacuous.”
The review adds that many of the songs are “lifeless.” Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune claims that Timberlake struggles with the new direction of Man of the Woods, and Mikael Wood of the Los Angeles Times says that not only is Justin’s singing unconvincing, but the album’s whole concept comes across as a faux reinvention.
After reading the bad reviews of his album, it’s possible that Timberlake thought that his Super Bowl halftime show would receive accolades. As excited as the audience was at the actual performance, the positive vibes just didn’t transfer to those viewing on their television sets, smartphones, and computers. First, there were the audio problems that Entertainment Weekly lamented.
“Hey, Justin, it’s hard to dance-dance-dance when we can’t hear-hear-hear what you’re saying! Justin Timberlake was so busy bringing sexy back during his Super Bowl Halftime show that somebody failed to notice the pop star’s sound mix was positively filthy.”
The article added that fans ascended upon Twitter to show their frustration for the audio issues.
I feel like I can’t even hear Justin Timberlake sing because the background music is so loud
— Makayla✨ (@makaylla_renee) February 5, 2018
Sex with me is like a Justin Timberlake halftime show; there's a big production but you can't hear me and I don't perform anything new.
— Michael (@Home_Halfway) February 5, 2018
To add to the audio problems, critics stuck their knives deeply into Timberlake after his performance. Chris Richards from the Washington Post said that Timberlake was “unambiguously underwhelming,” while Entertainment Weekly called the show “dutiful” and “empty.” Justin Timberlake’s performance attracted over 106 million viewers, but it was far less than shows by Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Madonna, Beyonce, and Bruno Mars. So, is there anything good happening in Timberlake’s world?
According to Billboard, Man of the Woods is headed for No. 1 on the album charts.
“Prognosticators suggest the pop star’s latest effort, which was released on Feb. 2 through RCA Records, could launch atop the chart with around 300,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending Feb. 8,” says columnist Keith Caulfield, adding that Justin is about to score his fourth No. 1 album in a row.
Then, there is the single “Say Something,” a duet with Chris Stapleton which has been a big success. It debuted at No. 9 on Billboard’s Hot 100, and unlike previous singles from Timberlake this past month, it definitely had legs. It is still No. 7 on iTunes as of Saturday morning. The song continues to gain airplay.
Perhaps by the time Timberlake starts his world tour in March, things will be more settled. So far, there haven’t been any reports of bad ticket sales. And Timberlake has always been an exceptional performer. So far, 2018 may not be Timberlake’s year, but it’s possible that it won’t end up an awful one either.